So, I had started a full detailed rundown of candidates and realized that if I did it that way it simply would not be done anytime soon. Instead I will be giving a brief summary of what I am looking for in a presidential candidate and then grade the candidates based on what I believe their positions are based on prior statements, speeches, debates, or if applicable their voting records.

We are at a point where simply choosing the better of two evils just will not cut it. I cannot accept pale pastels and thinly veiled progressives as presidential candidates.

Foreign Policy: There are two things to draw from a president on foreign policy that I find more important then any specifics even tho that will be included as well. First, my impression of how well the candidate sitting across from Vladimir Putin or any other world leader in being able to negotiate not only from a position of national strength but also from a position of personal conviction and gravitas. A candidate for president should have some sort of idea of how to attack Isis with extra points for having actual ideas that don’t require many boots on the ground, but boots on the ground is a far superior position then maintaining the status quo. I do not necessarily ask for specifics as detailing specifics on foreign policy can often hurt the goal of policy. The second thing I ask for is to have a person that has demonstrated sound judgment. A person can have all the conviction and gravitas in the world, but if he has displayed inconsistency or poor judgment it gains him nothing.

Health Care: I am looking for a few things. A willingness and belief that repealing the current status quo known as the “affordable care act” is both necessary and worthwhile. Thats the starting point. This by itself is not enough. Some people say that we should just repeal and leave it as is. They are largely ignorant of the leviathan of regulations and interruptions of the health care realm that pre-existed obamacare. Bonus points for being for using the Commerce clause in the constitution to invalidate state level laws barring purchase of health insurance across state lines. This would inspire deregulation and competition in a way this industry has literally never experienced. Most other health care regulations should be left to the states and above all on anything not covered in the constitution I prefer, or rather demand federalism.

Taxes: Every republican is running on some form of change to the tax code. What I want from a candidate is a clear plan that cuts rates, particularly corporate tax rates while eliminating complexity and what I call the “levers of power in the tax code” of tax credits and exemptions at the same time. Reagan cut tax rates by historic levels, but very few realize that some paid more under the new lower tax rates then they did on the previous higher tax rates because he streamlined the tax code. Bonus points for a flat tax. Huge points for being for a consumption style tax system.

The issue of life: Regardless of personal belief or actual endgame goal in order for me to consider the candidate they must be personally committed to ending abortion after 20 weeks and defunding planned parenthood. You can lose points for being an idiot and stating that even if the life of the mother is in mortal danger you are against abortion (tho an argument could be made in these limited circumstances its not even truly an abortion) that will detract from it greatly. I know of at least one instance in which the life of the mother is mortally imperiled and the child physically cannot survive even if left alone. Tubal/Ectopic Pregnancy. If you say the above, you certainly appear completely out of touch and ignorant of everything on the subject. Bonus points for personhood amendment support.

Education: Must be at the minimum able to articulate that more control should be given to state and local governments in dealing with education. Merely throwing money at a problem does nothing. Common core is a no go. Standards inside of state and local governments can be a good thing (not not always as it depends on what the standards make the school do, I do not like the current trend of teaching towards standards tests at the end of the year), but any top down one size fits all approach will do the opposite of what theoretically the goal would be in education. To teach as many children as much as possible and give them the best chance of success in life as possible. Human beings do not learn the same way across the board. I learn very differently then either of my sisters do and we lived under the same roof and went to the same schools more or less. Bonus points if they are for repealing “No Child Left Behind” which is leaving kids behind in droves and has been injurious to the state of American education since its passage.

Cronyism: No issue can get me to distrust a candidate more then if he loses my trust on this issue. As this issue completely involves every other issue there is. For instance, the Ex-Im bank. Giving tax credits and incentives to one business inside an industry and not another. Giving preferential treatment to one industry over another. This type of power to the government, the ability to do these things gives the government power of corporations which in turn empowers those corporations power over their competition and wrecks havoc particularly on small and mid sized businesses who do not have immediate access to the type of capital and overhead lowering devices employed by these corporations to help survive the types of regulations that these corporation lobbies for. If a large company is lobbying congress to regulate them further, I guarantee you one thing, its not for your health or well being. Its that they believe they can survive them better then their competition making for a softer market where they have more control and easier profits.

Religious Liberty: In order for my support you must show a willingness to go to the mat for people who sincerely believe things and their ability to exercise that faith in public. By the way, if the first amendment meant you could have your own thoughts and faith in private it would not have been necessary at all in the first place.

Marriage: Unlike many fellow conservatives I have said since the beginning of the national debate on marriage that the tack being followed from the beginning was never going to work and led ultimately to what was eventually going to happen happening sooner then it would have happened otherwise. Marriage should never have been under the jurisdiction of government. It is, by definition, governmental intrusion into religion. There should have been clear legal ways by which to join assets, name a person family etc. Insurance should never be regulated to where in order to join together to get a policy you must be family. What is family? Is it merely blood? I contend it is not. If I wish for a friend of mine to be given the same visitation rights as my sister would have I should have a legal option for that to actually happen. By going down a path of “banning same sex marriage” we have not only lost the argument, but also mortally wounded the legitimate fix for this very important area of geopolitical debate and harmed religious liberty in ways that we have not yet realized its full extent.

Trade: While I am an advocate of free trade in most instances I am confused by the lengths that republicans are willing to go in order to keep trade free even when it is not actually free on both sides. I am also skeptical of intertwining our economy with countries who have very different kinds of economies. I am for free trade, but more on the lines of  a fair trade. We must remain competitive with these other markets when we trade with them or we lose our jobs overseas. I don’t care how much more GDP is generated if inflation adjusted income goes down at the median. That is what I see happening today and largely the totality of my lifetime since I’ve known enough to pay attention. I am not for outright protectionism, but like the market some regulation, some protectionism is necessary to maintain fair trade. Why are republicans so much more willing to regulate our market yet think its a complete mistake to even consider action when a country places tarrifs on us or devalues their currency to manipulate that trade race in their favor. Or not take into consideration the differences in inflation adjusted incomes from workers in that country vs ours when looking at trade. I’m not saying that everything should be changed based on these things, but the outright aversion to even bring that stuff into the equation is perplexing.

Immigration: We need to secure the border first. Fix our immigration system first. Then we can talk about what to do specifically about those people who are still here. Saying we are going to go house to house deporting people is not a solution. We should enforce existing laws primarily on corporations. If they are not able to find a job they won’t have to be deported. After we secure the border I have any number of different reasonable solutions for those still left here particularly those with citizen children. Ending birthright citizenship is something I would prefer to happen, but any talk about reneging on existing people who have been told for up to nearly 30 years now that they are citizens should be excoriated for that position. The point of enforcing immigration law is not to inflict harm it is to stop the flow of illegals and stop corporations from exploiting them and working around other employment laws in the process while driving down wages for those of us who do work in the area’s in which illegals are most often hired. Even ending companies existence because they cannot compete.

Donald Trump

  • Foreign Policy : C
  • Health Care : D-
  • Taxes : C
  • Life : D+
  • Education : C-
  • Cronyism : C+
  • Religious Liberty : D+
  • Marriage : N/A
  • Trade : B-
  • Immigration : B-
  • Role of Government : F

Ben Carson

  • Foreign Policy : C-
  • Health Care : B-
  • Taxes : A-
  • Life : A
  • Education : C+
  • Cronyism : N/A
  • Religious Liberty : D
  • Marriage : D+
  • Trade : N/A
  • Immigration : N/A
  • Role of Government : N/A

Jeb Bush

  • Foreign Policy : D+
  • Health Care : N/A
  • Taxes : C
  • Life : B-
  • Education : F
  • Cronyism : D-
  • Religious Liberty : D
  • Marriage : D+
  • Trade : D
  • Immigration : D-
  • Role of Government : D+

Ted Cruz

  • Foreign Policy : A-
  • Health Care : B
  • Taxes : A-
  • Life : A
  • Education : B
  • Cronyism : A-
  • Religious Liberty : A+
  • Marriage : C
  • Trade : C+
  • Immigration : B
  • Role of Government : A

Scott Walker

  • Foreign Policy : C+
  • Health Care : D+
  • Taxes : C+
  • Life : B-
  • Education : N/A
  • Cronyism : D+
  • Religious Liberty : B
  • Marriage : C
  • Trade : C
  • Immigration : C-
  • Role of government : C-

Marco Rubio

  • Foreign Policy B+
  • Taxes : C+
  • Health Care : B+
  • Life : B-
  • Education : C
  • Cronyism : C-
  • Religious Liberty : B
  • Marriage : C
  • Trade : C
  • Immigration : C
  • Role of Government : C+

Carly Fiorina

  • Foreign Policy : B+
  • Taxes : B
  • Health Care : N/A
  • Life : B
  • Education : N/A
  • Cronyism : C+
  • Religious Liberty : D
  • Marriage : D-
  • Trade : C
  • Immigration : C+
  • Role of Government : N/A

Mike Huckabee

  • Foreign Policy : C-
  • Taxes : A+
  • Health Care : C-
  • Life : A
  • Education : D
  • Cronyism : C
  • Religious Liberty : A
  • Marriage : C
  • Trade : C
  • Immigration : N/A
  • Role of Government : D-

Rand Paul

  • Foreign Policy : D-
  • Taxes : B
  • Health Care : A
  • Life : A
  • Education : B-
  • Cronyism : B+
  • Religious Liberty : C-
  • Marriage : B+
  • Trade : D
  • Immigration : D
  • Role of Government : B+

Chris Christie

  • Foreign Policy : D-
  • Taxes : C
  • Health Care : C
  • Life : C+
  • Education : D+
  • Cronyism : D+
  • Religious Liberty : D
  • Marriage : D
  • Trade : D
  • Immigration : C+
  • Role of Government : D

John Kasich

  • Foreign Policy : D+
  • Taxes : C-
  • Health Care : D+
  • Life : C-
  • Education : F
  • Cronyism : F
  • Religious Liberty : D
  • Marriage : D
  • Trade : D
  • Immigration : D+
  • Role of Government : C-
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